Raffle winner will win unrestricted elk license

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With help from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and a little luck, one Colorado resident could win a chance to hunt elk anywhere in the state and that's no bull.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) will hold a raffle May 19 in Pueblo, in conjunction with the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), for one bull elk license open to all valid areas and seasons.

The raffle will be part of the RMEF's Pueblo Banquet, with the money generated being used to fund research, education, and habitat projects throughout Colorado.

"The real draw with a raffle like this is the opportunity that it presents a lucky hunter to hunt in one of the zones that they may not often draw a tag for," said Craig resident Allan Reishus, Colorado Special Projects Coordinator for the RMEF. "In areas like Douglas Mountain and Coal Springs Mountain, it may be 12 or 13 years before you can draw a permit to hunt there, so with this drawing, it may allow a hunter a chance at the trophy they may never have had."

Raffle tickets are $20, and according to Reishus, about half of the 2,000 available tickets have been sold.

"This raffle is open to all residents and non-residents alike," he said. "If you are from out of state, or know someone who is that would like to hunt elk in Colorado, they are eligible for this raffle," he said. "If the winner is from outside of Colorado, they are going to have to provide a valid, hunter safety education number from their state to be cleared to hunt."

In previous years, raffles and auctions have been held for mountain goat, bighorn sheep, and moose licenses.

Earlier this year, a Colorado mountain goat license was auctioned for $10,250 and a Colorado bighorn sheep license went for $90,000 at the Foundation for Northern Wild Sheep Convention in Reno, Nev.

"I remember when the Alberta bighorn auction license went for $430,000 at an auction in Reno a few years ago," said John Ellenberger, big game manager for the DOW. "To my knowledge, that is the most that has ever been spent on an auction license at the Foundation for Northern Wild Sheep Convention."

The Colorado Wildlife Commission originally established auctions and raffles for for sheep and goat licenses in 1989, with moose auctions and raffles beginning in 1995.

Legislation passed last year that created an auction and raffle license for mule deer, elk, and pronghorn antelope.

"We really didn't expect to get as much for deer, elk or pronghorn as we get for sheep, goat and moose," Ellenberger said. "It's simply a matter of supply and demand."

The licenses sold will benefit projects for the respective species. Each year, project proposals are solicited from the DOW as well as the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other private and governmental organizations.

"A project advisory committee reviews the proposals for each species and then decides which ones to fund from the money collected from each year's auctions and raffles," Ellenberger said.

For more information on the RMEF's elk raffle, contact Suz Syvertson, NW Colorado RMEF Chapter, P.O. Box 540, Craig, CO 81626, or call 824-3633.

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